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Mar 27, 2020

MOH to Explore Other Testing Capabilities in the Near Future?

Russell Manzanero

Almost ninety samples from across the country have been tested for COVID-19. The samples are sent exclusively to the Central Medical Laboratory in Belize City, which is the only certified medical facility that is carrying out the COVID-19 testing. The Ministry of Health, however, is looking at other ways of testing in the near future. Today, Epidemiologist, Doctor Russell Manzanero said that the Ministry of Health is looking at what the region is exploring, as well as what other resources can be used to support new capabilities later down the road.


Dr. Russell Manzanero, Director of Epidemiology Unit

“Currently what we have in place is that we only have the Central Medical Laboratory in Belize City that is doing the certified PCR testing for COVID-19. We have no validated rapid test in the country, so CML is the only certified lab to actually conduct certification for COVID-19.We are indeed looking at other ways of testing and we don’t know that that there is another source of potential testing in the near future. I know that these are discussions being done in the regional level. We don’t know that the gene expert machines that we have in country are currently being used for testing for Tuberculosis. So, at this point there has been further investigation and research and we are now able to look at a potential source of testing for COVID-19, as well. This is actually being looked to see how we can actually besides testing for TB, for COVID-19. The turnaround time for that would be shorten by half. However, these discussions are still in the process. It is not being marketed to everyone and so it is still being in discussion globally and so we will see which countries be the ones accessing those testing kits. Of course, we do have the machines in country so we have the capacity to run those tests but we still need to engage in discussion our regional stakeholders. So, for testing that is another source we can look at afterwards as well. We have reached out to our Director of Health Services to discuss that kind of testing and if we have the capacity to do it, we will be looking at that as well.”

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